Linux User & Developer, Issue 128

Linux User & Developer Issue 128This month’s Linux User & Developer includes two reviews of mine, plus my new regular news spread: four pages of Linux and open source news covering the spread from hardware and software to business and politics.

First, the news spread. Following the departure of the magazine’s regular news contributor, I was asked to take over the four-page spread on an ongoing basis. I’d previous written for the news section to cover absence, but from now on it’s going to be all me. The exception will be when larger features eat up the page count: because there’s a limit to how many pages an individual freelancer can have in the magazine – blame the beancounters – there will be times when I only do two of the four pages.

Both reviews this month are centred around ARM-based devices, but with very different target audiences: the BeagleBone Black and the Synology DS213J, a single-board computer aimed at developers and a dual-bay network attached storage (NAS) device designed to be as easy to use as possible.

I’ve been excited to play with the BeagleBone Black since it was announced, as it offers significantly more capability than the Raspberry Pi for not a lot more money – contrasted with the original BeagleBone, which wouldn’t leave you much change from £150 if you wanted accessories and HDMI output. While the software still needs work – a constant refrain in the maker-oriented single-board computer market, I find – it’s certainly an impressive device.

The DS213J, meanwhile, is a minor upgrade to one of Synology’s varied dual-bay NAS devices. Using a new Marvell Armada system-on-chip, it offers improved performance, new hardware floating point extensions, wake-on-LAN support and double the RAM at 512MB. Considering its price puts it well below the equivalent Atom-based system, it was certainly worth giving a test-drive.

How did the two devices do? Well, I’m afraid you’ll have to pick up the magazine to find out. It’s in most good newsagents, or is available digitally via Zinio and other services.

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